UK removes Cyprus from coronavirus ‘safe’ list

The increasing number of coronavirus cases in South Cyprus has prompted the British government to remove the island from its travel corridor.

The new measures, which came in on Sunday morning, 1 November, means those returning from Cyprus must self-isolate for 14 days.

The decision was announced by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on Thursday.

Last month, Turkey was also removed from Britain’s travel corridor after Covid cases in the country had rocketed.

The Turkish government had deliberately underreported the total number of infections. Since 29 July, the Health Ministry had only been publishing figures for patients exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms, excluding those who were asymptomatic.

Turkey swiftly lost its ‘safe destination’ status after Health Minister Fahrettin Koca admitted to the reporting discrepancies. Since 3 October, everyone returning to Britain from Turkey must self-isolate for a fortnight.

The rule also applies to transit passengers from countries like North Cyprus, where incidents of coronavirus are negligible.

Many North Cyprus-based Britons and Turkish Cypriots had opted to travel to the UK via an airport in South Cyprus to avoid the mandatory home quarantine. However, as of yesterday, that option no longer exists.

UK Transport Minister Grant Shapps announces Cyprus is off the safe list

The latest advice from the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office is to avoid all non-essential travel to South Cyprus and Turkey, based on the current assessment of Covid-19 risks in these countries.

Those currently present in or planning to travel to Cyprus (North or South) or to Turkey in the near future are advised to comply with all measures imposed by the local authorities to protect themselves and others from the virus.